Saraki, Tambuwal Fire Back at Tinubu, Say He’s a Pretender

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    “I can also vividly recall that he himself always expressed his displeasure with the style of the government and also mentioned that he had equally suffered disrespect from the same government, which we all worked to put in office.”

    Deji Elumoye in Abuja

    The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and Governor of Sokoto State, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, Monday fired back at the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), saying his support for President Muhammadu Buhari was pretentious, having complained, in private discussions, that he was unhappy about the president’s style of governance.

    Tinubu had on Sunday said Saraki, Tambuwal and others that defected from the APC to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and others parties, did so because they were not guaranteed automatic tickets by the ruling party.

    He also accused them of baying for the national treasury, accusing them of having their eyes on the country’s resources to the detriment of the interest of the people.

    Monday, Saraki and Tambuwal replied Tinubu, saying he was being economical with the truth.

    While the Senate president issued a statement in Abuja, the Sokoto State governor took to his twitter handle.

    Tinubu, said Tambuwal, was a latter day lover of Buhari, contending that the national leader wanted to rock the boat when he was refused the vice presidential slot by Buhari in 2014, prelude to the 2015 general election.

    His media office told THISDAY that a fuller response was being made in the days ahead.

    Saraki was, however, more comprehensive in his response to Tinubu, saying the APC national leader was blindly supporting Buhari’s administration to preserve his presidential ambition in 2023.

    The Senate president in his statement titled: ‘The Tinubu Rhetoric- My Response,’ declared that Tinubu would rather “support a Buhari on the hospital stretcher to get a second term because in 2023, power would shift to the South-west.”

    This Tinubu viewpoint, Saraki said, was not only expressed to him but to several of his colleagues.

    He said the relationship between him and Tinubu became frosty in 2014 when he opposed his ambition to run as Buhari’s running mate on a Muslim/ Muslim ticket.

    He explained, “My present uncertain and complex relationship with Tinubu has been continually defined by the event of 2014 when I and other leaders of the APC opposed the Muslim-Muslim ticket arrangement about to be foisted on the APC for the 2015 polls.

    “It should be noted that he has not forgotten the fact that I took the bull by the horns and told him that in the interest of the country, he should accept the need for the party to present a balanced ticket for the 2015 general elections in terms of religion and geo-political zones. Since that time he has been very active, plotting at every point to undermine me, within and outside the National Assembly.”

    The Senate President recalled that on several occasions, he had discussed unusual developments in government with Tinubu but it became glaring that “while my own decision is based on protecting collective, national interest, Tinubu will rather live with the identified inadequacies in the government for the sake of fulfilling and preserving his presidential ambition in 2023. This new position of Tinubu has only demonstrated inconsistency, particularly when one reviews his antecedent over the years.”

    He explained that he had consistently complained to APC leaders about the leadership of the National Assembly not being in the know about key government decisions.

    According to him, “I have been consistent in my complaints to all leaders of the APC, including Tinubu, that a situation where the National Assembly is not constructively engaged or carried along in key policy decisions, particularly those that will eventually require legislative approval, is not in the best interest of the nation.

    “No genuine leader of the legislature will be comfortable that the presidency will simply write a terse letter to the National Assembly on key issues, which the federal legislature is expected to later deliberate upon and give its approval. The Buhari administration consistently treat the legislature with contempt and act as if the law making body should be an appendage of the Executive. To me, that is unacceptable.

    “Tinubu himself will recall that during the various meetings he had with me at the time he was pursuing reconciliation within the party, I raised all the above issues. I can also vividly recall that he himself always expressed his displeasure with the style of the government and also mentioned that he had equally suffered disrespect from the same government which we all worked to put in office. I also made the point that whatever travails I have gone through in the last three years belong to the past and will definitely not shape my decisions now and in the future.

    “However, during those meetings, the point of disagreement between me and him is that while I express my worry that there is nothing on ground to assure me that the administrative style and attitude would change in the next four years in a manner that will enable us deliver the positive changes we promised to our people, he (Tinubu) expressed a strong opinion that he would rather ‘support a Buhari on the hospital stretcher’ to get a second term because in 2023, power will shift to the South-west.

    “It is clear that while my own decision is based on protecting collective, national interest, Tinubu will rather live with the identified inadequacies in the government for the sake of fulfilling and preserving his presidential ambition in 2023. This new position of Tinubu has only demonstrated inconsistency, particularly when one reviews his antecedent over the years.

    “It is a surprise to me that Asiwaju Tinubu is still peddling the falsehood about the fact that my defection is about automatic ticket and sharing of resources. Members of the public will recall that when the issue of my decision to quit APC came to the fore and many APC leaders were holding meetings with me, a newspaper owned by the same Tinubu published a false report about the promise of automatic ticket, oil block and other benefits. I immediately rebutted their claims and categorically stated that I never discussed any such personal and pecuniary benefits with anybody. My challenge that anybody who has contrary facts should come forward with them still remains open.

    “It should be known that Democracy is a system which allows people to freely make their choice. It is my choice that I have decided to join others to present a viable alternative platform for Nigerians in the coming elections. Tinubu and leaders of the APC had better respect this decision or lawfully deal with it. As for me, Allah gives power to whom He wishes. Human beings can only aspire and strive to fulfill their aspirations.”